the bad!

The bad class first. Mostly I just sit there thinking, “Oh!!! You WANKERS!” Not to insult masturbation. It is to blink in horror at the boringness and the Bad Poetry! To comfort myself I read the poem “Fr3sh Air” to myself a few times: this part

Where are the young poets in America, they are trembling in publishing houses and universities,
Above all they are trembling in universities, they are bathing the library steps with their spit.
They are gargling out innocuous (to whom?) poems about maple trees and their children,
Sometimes they brave a subject like the Villa d’Este or a lighthouse in Rhode Island,
Oh what worms they are! they wish to perfect their form.

and this part, which is such a huge fuck-you… I wish I had read it out loud to the class…

My first lesson. “Look around you. What do you think and feel?”
/Uhhh…/ “Quickly! /This Connecticut landscape would have pleased
Vermeer./ Wham! A-Plus. “Congratulations!” I am promoted.
OOOhhhhh I wish you were dead, what a headache! My second
lesson: “Rewrite your first lesson line six hundred times. Try to
make it into a magnetic field.” I can do it too. But my poor
line! What a nightmare! Here comes a tremendous horse.
Trojan, I presume. No, it’s my third lesson. “Look, look! Watch
him, see what he’s doing? That’s what we want you to do. Of
course it won’t be the same as his at first, but…” I demur. Is
there no other way to fertilize minds?
Bang! I give in… Already I see my name in two or three
anthologies, a serving girl comes into the barn bringing me the anthologies,
She is very pretty and I smile at her a little sadly, perhaps it is my
last smile! Perhaps she will hit me!

It was even worse than K. Koch could imagine …. One guy, who sometimes says intelligent things but mostly is lost in the Forest of Pretentious Overly Clever Abstractions, referred to this other girl’s “interesting work” and she whined that she doesn’t know what to do with her work and is on a hamster wheel… I asked her what her work was like or if I could see it and she explained the thing that Abstraction Dude talked about: She took some “primary text” and replaced all the “I”‘s with the phrase “40l-T1meWarner”. “But then, I decided that instead of just the self-referential Is, I could do a search and replace on ALL the letter “i”s in all the words. But then when I kept doing it, it kept replacing all the new “i”s in “T1me-Warner” with the phrase again, so it was, um, it was…. um…..” “Infinitely recursive?” “Yeah, that.” *imagine me speechless, flabbergasted, listening to this girl angst on about what direction her “work” is taking* Duuuuuuuude. I’d like to spank her with the Norton Anthology.

To be roughed up by the trees and to bring music from the scattered houses
And the stones, and to be in such intimate relationship with the sea
That you cannot understand it? Is there no one who feels like a pair of pants?

I wrote a little bit while tuning it all out — then piped up with a tr4nslation and some comments — And said something inane about the essay we read…. I just … I confess I spouted some nonsense… I even made it extra-nonsensical on purpose to be sarcastic, and the prof might have realized a bit.

What happened was that I kept getting more and more ridiculous and spouting jargon but with deliberate meaninglessness until it was sort of over the top and the prof finally said, “Hmm, that’s really interesting… what do you mean exactly by ‘double consciousness’?” I looked him straight in the eye and said, “I have no idea. I just made it up. I’m just talking and saying whatever random thing comes into my head.” I cracked up laughing. There was laughter (nervous) all around. The prof knew I was fucking around but tried to save the situation by musing for a bit about what “double consciousness” might mean.

I feel a little bad for making fun of it all… and being a little hostile…

Oh, that was only the last half of the class. The first half was Abstraction Dude’s thingie on P0und and being a traitor. People talked for an hour and a half about Pound and A.D.’s “work” which was… the translation part was interesting formally as an experiment – the rest was just utter crap. But my point is this. Everyone talked about P0und for at least an hour. And then on the break some people including the prof left the room and someone said, “So, what is the deal with P0und? Who is he? What did he do?” And otherpeople chimed in, nodding their curiosity about this P0und dude… he was some kind of poet? And he wrote some sort of Cantos? And something with Chinese and there was some sort of … what is it that people object to in him exactly? So about half the people in the class didn’t have the faintest clue. I held forth for a few minutes on the subject…. but… for fuck’s sake…

I also lost it at another moment while trying to point out that Abstraction Dude’s giant focus on tr4nslation and the words “m0ther tongue” and violating it and like, not submitting to it, and entering it, and like, penetrating it and overthrowing it, was not such the best idea. But everyone else loved and went on and on about the mothertongue and its primal meaning. (If they were better fakers, they would start blathering from their 3rd hand understandings of Lacan or something. but not even.) Finally I lost my head and said, “Oh, I get it now, you’re saying that TR4NSLATORS ARE ALL MOTHERFUCKERS.” Then, insincerely, I laughed as if just being witty.

Possibly the worst class ever for lack of actual content.

The prof is nice but in a potheady, slack sort of way. You people KNOW I’m a huge flake. But I come off in that bunch as levelheaded and staunchly conservative. Thank god for the one person in that class who does not seem to have her head up her ass, and the dude from china who is an interesting poet and has some passion about writing. The rest of the people in there remind me of an ex boyfriend who did these performance art projects that were all one concept, like, “I will now light 1000 matches in front of an audience, one after the other.”

So stupid, as we could actually be reading essays about tr4nslation theory! There are plenty of them! But no!

I’m so fucking glad I am not in that department! My dept. at State is wonderful and full of radiant intelligence! And it shines so much more brightly now that I know how dull the CW dept can be.

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9 Responses to “the bad!”

  1. Jo

    Reminds me of this one guy at my grad school who was all hep and up on queer theory, but all he ever did was to find instances of holes in anything we read. “This mention of a well, it’s sublimated anal sexuality…”
    I wanted to kill him. He was later accepted to Staffnord PhD program and given a full ride.

  2. badgerbag

    OMG please tell me his name. I dread that I might even now be reading his papers on Del3uze.

  3. qp

    haha, I was looking for this link before when I read this post but couldn’t find it until now, anyway:

  4. badgerbag

    Oh, brilliant… I wish there were more! I mean, you could just keep that gag going, strip after strip!
    Who are you, qp? Just curious!

  5. qp

    I think he DOES have more strips, that is the awesomeness of the whole gag, you’re right! They’re just not up on the site, sadly. He’s a friend of mine.
    Uhhh, I am some girl in NY?
    is my page, but not updated very regularly.

  6. badgerbag

    OMG, I must email him and beg for copies of more of that strip. It would earn me unbearable amounts of whuffie in my j0yce class.
    doing a little counter-stalkyness,
    “and in it discovered copies of all the journals I’d kept that I thought were lost forever with my stolen Powerbook. OH. So all that weeping at the loss of the records of fucking-craziness was, um, unnecessary. Ok.
    I read some of them over the weekend when I meant for myself to be writing, and boy was I a tool. Also astoundingly self-absorbedly crazy and miserable. I wonder how much has changed”
    Snorting with laughter. a kindred spirit, how very pleasant…
    also “See, the thing is there’s no way to write anything here that will satisfy me. It’s not that I’m too busy, or very busy at all. I think too hard and too much. This is the smallest part of it. What can I tell you that’s not too vague, too detailed, too dull, too lyrical, too wordy, too whimsical, too fucking clever? Or self-congratulatory or self-deprecating or self-satisfied or self-conscious?”
    Right on… Now come over here and make me some pie, woman. You must write poetry. Where is it?
    *little hearts with whales, sent your way, etc.*

  7. qp

    HAHAHA it is in several places, but NOWHERE on the internet, that is where it is!
    Also, I was a Spanish major. Bring it on!

  8. tl

    Dude, I am qp’s cohabitating girlfriend, and we share a computer that is in no way password-protected, and I do not even THINK about trying to find her poetry on the motherfucking hard drive, because lo I do not wish to bring ruin unto my life. She’s a great poet, from what little I’ve read, but she’s pretty into the light-under-bushel method of self-publishing. Which is, y’know, frustrating.
    ps: I read and totally enjoy your blog.
    pps: qp really does make fantastic pie/other foodstuffs. I’ll send her over.

  9. badgerbag

    Hah! I know what that’s like (not showing the poetry).

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